Writes Ciaran Dineen
After making her debut for the club in 2017, Christina Dring recently surpassed 100 appearances for Cork City FC, joining a special host of players such as Nathalie O’Brien and Katie McCarthy to reach the century mark.
The achievement came on April 16th, when the ‘Leesiders’ took on Wexford. Unfortunately, the result on the day meant that Christina could perhaps not revel in the occasion, as her side lost 5-1, but her accolade should nevertheless be recognised as a remarkable achievement.
Christina has always had a keen interest in sport, playing soccer from an early age, joining Carrigaline United AFC when she was just eight. She has not looked back since and her five years at Cork City has seen her feature in two FAI Cup Finals, while also scoring over 20 goals from league appearances.
“It’s crazy to think about really”, Christina tells The Carrigdhoun Newspaper. “I joined five years ago when I was 17 halfway through the season and so much has changed in the meantime. I’ve changed also as a person in that time. The girls who have got a hundred appearances previously, I see them as such good players and with so much experience, and now I’m in that bracket which is kind of surreal.”
At 22 it is rather remarkable for any player to feature in so many games and when you consider that Christina has also played an active role in playing for UCC in both soccer and hockey, finding the time to balance sport, along with her Engineering studies, makes the achievement all the more commendable.
Despite her young age, Dring could be almost described as a veteran in the current squad, which features a number of young players, one of which is former Carrigaline United AFC sensation, Eva Mangan. Asked whether she is aware that she may be a role model or someone to look up to for the younger women on her team, the 22 year-old said, “when I think about it I become aware about it, but normally I wouldn’t think about it because I suppose I just feel like I’m just playing soccer, doing what I love and the fact that I could have people looking up to me is kind of amazing.”
In the past Christina has previously spoken about the need to ensure equality between the men’s and women’s game but she points to the success of last season’s final home game at Turner’s Cross, where a contest with Munster rivals Treaty United broke the record for attendance for the National Women’s League. Reflecting on the day, Christina recalls being asked for her autograph for the first time.
“It was kind of unbelievable because these young girls were coming up to me looking for my autograph and you associate that with famous people, which I certainly wouldn’t class myself as one. But my mum recently told me that she was talking to someone who knew that I had played for Cork City and he said that he had brought his 8-year-old daughter to the game, so you don’t realise how much your name gets out there when you play for a team like Cork City, but it’s great that we can have that kind of impact.”
Aside from her association with the Rebel Army, Christina has also excelled in sport at UCC, where she recently claimed a UCC Sports Star Award to recognise her service and achievements with the college over the past four years.
She helped the women’s hockey team to a Munster Senior League win in April after beating the Church of Ireland 3-2 in a dramatic playoff in Ashton, where Christina went to secondary school. During the season Christina scored 10 goals in total, finishing tied 6 in Munster for the league campaign.
However, it was lifting the Lydon Cup for the UCC A team, where Christina scored in the final, which was most likely the most surreal experience this year, as her side overcame the UCC B team to claim victory. It capped a fantastic end to her sporting career in UCC and one that she will never forget, particularly given the impact that Covid-19 had on the sporting calendar. “I really just wanted to win something in my last year”, Christina explains. “I had won the Kelly Cup in my first year and then we couldn’t play in my second and third year because of the pandemic so ending on a high was something I absolutely wanted to do.”
While she might have to give up the skull and crossbones jersey, Christina plans on continuing to put a shift in for Cork City now that she has also committed to working in Cork for the time being. We wish her all the best for the remainder of the season!